Wow what a year! I don’t usually share personal information in a coaching post, but in this case it is appropriate so here we go!
I have not blogged since October, and it has really weighed on my conscience, because I feel a commitment to my readers to continue to put out good information, and inspiring posts on a regular basis. On the other hand, I am a sales manager with commitments up, down, and across my organization to meet as well. Up to my boss, his boss, and the rest of the way up all the way to our shareholders. Down to my team, where I have to make sure 14 families get fed (have you ever thought about your responsibility that way?). Finally, I have obligations to my peers to generate the revenue that keeps our location running and growing. Needless to say if you examine this too deeply you can easily get overwhelmed! This is probably not how most sales managers think about their job… Most of us only think about ourselves and our commitments up and limitedly across the organization.
I am on vacation right now, and with rest comes reflection… I have had a great year this year. I won two “Recruitment Team of the Quarter” awards, and capped off the year with a “Northwest District Director of Recruitment of the Year” award. In addition to that, my team set two quarterly sales records for our site, and also set an annual sales record! All great stuff, but if your company is like mine; and it probably is, you know in the next year I have to exceed all of those goals by at least 10% with limited additional resources! The short lesson is while missing the mark is not good for your long term longevity, neither is exceeding them by too much!
Now to the point of this message! I was reading the Simple Truths Newsletter today, and ran across this video clip. It is a great video about teamwork based on the United States Navy’s Blue Angels. This video gave me the starting point to several pivotal questions I plan to reflect on going into the New Year. Questions like:
- At what level does my team operate?
- Is it time to (or how can I) raise the bar?
- What is the center point of MY team? (What is it we rally around?)
- What values do we share?
- Do those values align with our purpose, mission, and actions at every level?
- Am I willing to sacrifice individual gain for the good of my team? Are my team members?
- Do I lead by positive example?
- Do I always and consistently behave in the way I expect my team members to?
- Am I tapping into the strengths every member of my team brings to the table?
- Am I communicating effectively and efficiently up, down, and across my organization, and is that communication open and honest?
- Am I providing the most effective training possible?
- Does my team prepare to win? Do I? How could I do that better?
- What am I doing to improve my own attitude, and the attitude of everyone I come in contact with?
- Do I strive for perfection by focusing on incremental improvement?
In order to operate at 100% efficiency we need to take the time to regularly self reflect, recharge, and redirect our efforts. The impossible is only impossible until someone does it… In this article I have shared just a few of the questions I will be answering myself over the rest of my vacation. More importantly I’ll be sharing those answers with my team at our first Friday training of the year and seeking their input as well.
My team had a great 2007. Better in fact, than most people thought possible. 2008 brings bigger and better things for us. We will have to beat all of our previous records to bring home another victory.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. Clearly to set new records we must change the way we operate. We must go from being a good team to being a GREAT team. This exercise is the first and most important step.
I started out this article talking about commitments, and after some additional self examination, my writing here is also an important step in my own personal and profesional growth. It is where I think things through, and share with my peers what is working for me and why. So now it is time to end with my commitment to all of you! I am committing to writing two substantive posts per month, and several (I don’t want to limit my self by putting a number on it) shorter posts to fill in the gaps. if you catch me slipping e-mail me!
I hope this exercise was helpful. I would love to see some of the questions you thought of in the comments section. Good luck to everyone! I hope you all have an outstanding 2008!